Hackney v. Commonwealth

In Hackney v. Commonwealth, 28 Va. App. 288, 292-96, 504 S.E.2d 385, 388-90 (1998), the Court refused to apply harmless error analysis to a jury conviction where our prior decisions rendered erroneous the decision of the trial court not to sever charges for possession of a firearm by a convicted felon from other related charges. See 28 Va. App. at 293-296, 504 S.E.2d at 388-89. The Court did so because the trial court implicitly acknowledged its awareness of the relevant legal rule and that its refusal to sever was error but "surmised that the accused might testify and place his credibility and character at issue, thereby rendering harmless its erroneous decision not to sever." Id. at 295, 504 S.E.2d at 389.